Last weekend I joined the OMNIvision crew for the live filming of a school dance competition. Dance Factor 6 brought together students from primary and secondary schools around the Carlisle area to compete. But why bother? What was the purpose of servicing an event with no mission or even Christian focus?
It comes down to two beliefs that we hold. Quality media productions tell the story better than half baked attempts, that is why we do what we do – and producing quality multimedia and event coverage requires continuous practice. We offer our professional services for events that don’t conflict with our beliefs and values and where there is no other opportunity for us to serve the Christian community – thus helping us to stay sharp and focussed.
We also believe in doing all that we can to be self sufficient. many generous people give to provide Ruth and I with a home and food, but nobody should have to foot the bill for the equipment that we use. That’s why we use mostly donated or discounted equipment that is high quality but not necessarily the cutting edge.
Daniel taught me everything that I know about my role in OMNIvision. He has showed me how to monitor 3 to 6 cameras and make sure the images look natural throughout the show. This is important so that people are not distracted by strange colours or overexposed images. Now that Daniel and his wife have taken 3 months out to visit the Logos Hope, I have taken the responsibility for Engineering. It’s a really technical job – but still an important one. I feel like I’ve come at just the right time to be of use.
This weekend I was at the Northern Women’s Conference with OMNIvision. We set up cameras and screens so people could easily see the main speaker and we put up the song words. All in all it went very well. I was the Engineer for the day which meant I made sure the images were good quality so they were not distracting and I made sure the sound on the recording was clear (also I hit the big record button!) Enjoy the photos!
“That morning when we awoke, the Lord had just taken him” – the Knight family had lost their son Mike unexpectedly, mysteriously one morning. The coroner could give no reason and so they concluded that the Lord had simply called him home.
After spending the summer traveling around Europe doing big events, this week’s evangelistic concert evening took place right here in Carlisle, UK. Out of the tragedy of their son’s passing, the Knight family brought together Christian entertainers from all around the world for one night to ponder together the mysteries of life and death. Dan and Suzie (Duzie) Potter hosted the event in their peculiar style, the band performed top tracks from Mike’s iPod – songs with challenging lyrics, rap artists WriteWay performed and actor Steven Baldwin shared the story of how his life was changed dramatically by Christ. He lead the audience in a prayer to receive Christ and at least 6 of those who prayed with him made contact with a local church to start an introduction to Christianity course. Many people shared that they had also struggled with loss and grief and questioned God’s existence or goodness but felt differently at the end of the night. I’m sure that many seeds were sown that evening that we will never know about – but in the future they will grow into Christ.
For me personally God answered a very dangerous prayer – to be more humble. During the GO conference I had become rather proud – thinking that I could have done a better job than those around me. Through the mistakes that I made during the setup that had to be fixed for me, and simply observing how talented my co-workers are I felt at the end of the night that God had reminded me of my place as a new team member with OMNIvision and given me a new respect for those I work with.
‘Thank you Lord that we have 231 people going into all the world tomorrow an we are sending them!” said one of the conference leaders in our prayer time before the final session of GO conference August 2012. Brand new OM team members from over 40 nations had come for an intensive 10 day training course in cross cultural missions. We call it Global Orientation – it’s chief aim to familiarise new team members with OM – the organisation they are working with and to prepare the workers for the cultural shock they will experience in their destination countries. Some are heading to reached nations with unreached people groups (even in the heart of London) and some are heading to the ends of the earth where there is no church to share the good news of our Lord Jesus. We want them to know that they are not alone – that God is with them firstly, and that there is a network of people to call upon for help.
Around 90 new team members are on their way to Logos Hope via some more training in Thailand, and two of them will become new teachers in the ship’s school. Ruth had the opportunity to meet with these two new teachers and prepare them for what they are about to experience. We know that they will be a big blessing to the ship – there is a great need for teachers – and that the ship experience will be life changing for them. Ruth was also able to connect with a number of families with children going out into the mission field for the first time. She gave them advice and reassurance about raising and educating children away from home.
Chris again joined the OMNIvision team in providing the sound, lights, song words and cameras (iMag) for the daily sessions in the main auditorium. He was able to help a lot with the set up of the sound and lighting components and felt much more at home with the equipment and people than at July’s TeenStreet conference. During the conference Chris spent most of the time on camera and feels much more familiar with the role now.
Whilst the two weeks in Holland were fairly easy going (with some long working days mixed in) we found by the end we were very glad to be heading home. Much of the time it felt like we were just working in our jobs and some times we felt like we were just passing the time – but when that prayer was prayed we remembered that God has allowed us to be a part of sending new workers out into the harvest field – and that is a privilege we cannot scoff at.
Whilst the church in exotic far away places like Africa, Asia and even the Middle East is growing at an amazing rate (just look at China) – the church in Europe is in steady decline. Weath and prosperity has replaced the need for God’s provision, advanced science and philosphpy has convinced most people God doesn’t exist – but neither have filled the emptiness inside every human being.
TeenStreet is a large international event in Germany where almost 4000 Christian and undecided teens come and experience God face to face. Powerful, exciting, confronting main meetings with intimite worship and challenging teaching are the spark of a flame that is fanned in small groups where the teens work out the mechanics of living their lives for Christ. Some commit their lives to Christ for the first time, others resolve to serve Him wholeheartedly, others still get a heart for local and world missions. All are impacted in some way.
We were pleased to be a small part of this huge conference in roles that we feel comfortable in. Chris was a part of the OMNIvision crew who covered the video for the main meetings – making sure that people could see, hear and understand the message being spoken to them. The title of this year’s TeenStreet was ‘Newsong 40’ – following Psalm 40 it encourages teens to leave behind the ‘old song’ of the world and start to sing the new song from God: “We were created to start each day anew, not consumed with the pain and regret of yesterday, or the fears and worries of tomorrow. Instead, to start a day in relationship with the Happiest person we know. Starting the day singing the Truth of the Kindest person we know, and what HE says about who you are. This is the song of our Father, who’s desire is to see His Kingdom come on Earth, as it is in HEAVEN!”. (www.teenstreet.de)
Part of Chris’s role for the week was to edit and upload recordings of the sessions. You can watch them online at http://www.omnitube.org/TeenStreet_Germany/. Feel free to use the clips or the ideas in them for your youth meetings etc.
Ruth coordinated the kids program – KidStreet – that ran simultaniously for the kids of helpers and organisers of TeenStreet. Following the same theme of a new song, the kids enjoyed a range of fun activities on their level, helping them to leave behind their old song and sing the new. Leading a group of kids who all speak different languages is difficult, but thankfully we had helpers from all the language groups!
This has been a big highlight for the start of our time with OM ICT in Carlisle, especially for Chris. We look forward to going to Holland in two weeks for the Global Orinentation (GO) conference – where new missionaries entering the field are given intense cross cultural missions training over two weeks – we did this ourselves when we joined the ship! After that we get to settle down into life in Carlisle – working with families in the mission field and creating multimedia resources for missions.
So we’ve been here in Carlisle for just over two weeks now and we’re almost all settled in. We are so very thankful for the gifts that people have given us towards setting up a new home together. Every time I cut up vegetables I am thankful for sharp knives and nice (colour coded!) chopping boards. We love the concept of being able to store things in places other than our bedroom for once! One important part of setting up a home happened just last night – we finally got our new book-cases. Ruth had lots of fun putting out all her books on display, and I must say they look great. And don’t worry, I’ve set up the TV and Wii so we’re all set there!
But we’ve had little time to sit at home and play with our toys because we are already hard at work at OM. With the TeenStreet conference in Germany happening this month, Ruth has been planning a whole kid’s program and I have been training in the use of some pretty crazy sophisticated equipment. It is going to be a hectic two weeks so please pray for us as we go on this adventure together.
“It’s such a relief that you could come to help out today Chris, you were a big help” a member of the OMNIvision crew remarked as he dropped me home late Saturday night. I was just thankful to God for the opportunity to be a part of the event.
Last Wednesday I left my lovely fiancee in Berkhamsted and caught a train to Carlisle to work on a software project for OM ships. I had wanted to spend some more time in Carlisle connecting and getting accustomed to the area, and OM had kindly paid my way up here for a week and a half. On Friday morning in devotions, a member of OMNIvision approached me and asked me if I’d like to go to Manchester with them for the weekend Northern Men’s Conference. I agreed without delay and was whisked off to the bus as soon as I could tell people where I was going.
One crew member had fallen ill and I was needed to help with setup, packdown and camera. I had operated a camera many times before on the ship, but this was a step up from that. Bigger cameras, more professional crew, and an audience that expect quality.
The Northern Men’s Conference was a one day Christian conference with keynote speaker Dr David Cook from Australia encouraging men from all around Northern England how to be the man God designed them to be. As I operated the camera, it struck me that he was saying some key stuff that mattered to me at this point in my life. I am moving from being a single man under my parents to being a husband and head of the household. Whilst I won’t repeat his talks, I especially like that he said God designed us in his image – to work as He does, to rest as He does and to Love as he does. This and many other truths washed over me as I operated the camera – I felt doubly blessed hearing this instruction and doing what I love doing.
The Audio/Visual side of things ran very smoothly and everyone was thankful that I could come along and fill in for the other camera operator. I am looking forward to the big events like Teen Street that I’ll be involved with this summer. I thank God for the surprise adventure, the blessing of growing relationships with the crew and the instruction I received on being a man of God.
Ruth and I recently spent the week in the northern border city of Carlisle nestled at the foothills of the Scottish highlands. Though it was a little colder up there we had a lovely time and we feel like we have a little more assurance of the future. We visited the OM International Coordinating Team (ICT) office and met some of the team who work there. ICT’s purpose is to come alongside missionaries at all levels and in all countries and provide the support and organisation that they need to do the work God has given them to do. Whilst the roles here feel a little bit corporate, the focus and outworking is in equipping, praying for and ministering to missionaries around the world.
Ruth spent some time with those she will be working with and the person that she will be replacing. She was able to get a good handle on what the job involves and get her hands on some resources that she can get familiar with in the coming months. The team seem very keen to have her working there as soon as we can – which will absolutely be after our wedding and honeymoon in June!
I spent some time with the team who run IT (Information Technology) on Logos Hope. They are putting together a donation system for the ships ministry that I am helping to construct. This is something I’ll be working on in the coming weeks alongside wedding plans and support raising. I also got to visit OMNIvision again and connect with the crew there. I will be based at OMNIvision (which is in a separate studio a few miles from ICT). I got to see the events that are coming up this summer and I’m very excited about the possibilities.
We were delighted to spend time with the Ingham family who let me stay with them for the week and often had Ruth and I around for dinner. It was very encouraging to be welcomed so warmly, especially when we don’t really know anyone in Carlisle. We were able to see a house that we could possibly move into in July, but there are no guarantees. We like the house so we are praying it will work out – if not they will find us another place.
It’s all very daunting moving to the UK, moving away from Ruth’s hometown, getting married and changing jobs – but we keep bringing it back to God and He keeps reassuring us we are doing the right thing. We are continually encouraged by the way that our lives seem to have been building towards this place and time – that God has been working behind the scenes in our lives in the good times and the bad to prepare us for ministry.
“We’re just glad to have you for Christmas” were my Mum’s kind words. After two years away from home missing Christmases and Birthdays, it was good to be home this year for my birthday, Christmas and New years. Often I think to myself that even though I would never change where God has taken me, I have in some way neglected my family and friends back home – that I’ve travelled the world doing God’s work, but left friends in the lurch. Spending this season at home, before jetting away again is an opportunity for me to make up for lost time. To spend quality time with my family, to help around the home where I can, to laugh, cry and hope with friends wherever they are at in life and to share with anyone who wants to know a little of what God has been doing in my life. My prayer is that God will use me in the time that I am here to bless people.
I was also delighted to spend this Christmas Eve at Grace Wamberal. I put in many hours of planning and two days of maintenance work to bring our lighting installation up to scratch for the carols service. It was so rewarding to see it on the night – everything working and arranged for the best coverage. Few if any people commented on the lighting this year, and that’s actually the way that I think it should be. They didn’t notice it at all, rather they were rejoicing and celebrating Jesus birth. When large numbers of people notice what I do, whether positive or negative – I know I’ve done something wrong, because my job is to point to the saviour, not to wow people with special effects.
As the new year dawns, I’ll be getting back to working in the church office on websites near and far in addition to continuing work on the audio visual equipment. I hope to be of the best use to the kingdom of God that I can be during these summer months at home. In April I will be heading over to England to be involved in an Audio/Visual missions movement called OMNIvision. I wish you and your families and friends all the best for 2012.
This week I had the chance to help with lighting and song words with a big event in Manchester. The event was the Northern Women’s Convention and it had around a thousand delegates. We were to provide the lighting, the cameras and the song words while another company did the sound. OmniVision has a big bus that has been converted with lots of television equipment inside. We took this bus down to Manchester and set it up outside the hall. I have set up similar equipment in my time on the ship so I was able to jump right in and set up all the lighting equipment on the set up day. This took a lot of the pressure off the person in charge of set-up. We worked until late in the night finishing everything off. I also helped set up some TVs on the stage so the worship team could read the lyrics.
The event went for the whole day on Saturday. My job was to choose appropriate background video loops to put behind the song words and to put up slides. Someone else did the actual song words. I was really happy to be a part of the programme and to see what they do in the bus. During one of the breaks I was allowed to have a play with one of the cameras so the video director could see if I was any good. I think I did OK at it. Live Audio/Visual has always been a passion of mine, and it was a huge blessing first to be able to be a part of AV on the ship for two years, and before that in church for a long time and now to experience it on a larger scale here in England. I would really like to return here to do this some more.